The peak in mental health is not achieved

The chief of psychiatry at CIUSSS of the West-Island of Montreal, Gustavo Turecki, deals a jump in requests for mental health support on the part of the population during the phase of déconfinement. “The pressure will come out “, he warns in an interview with Le Devoir.

In Italy, the health system has experienced two peaks of patients felled by the COVID-19 : a peak of patients requiring physical health care, and then a peak of patients requiring mental health care. “We’re ready to go to Montreal to meet these needs,” he said to the Duty.

There is also the population who has not had a mental health problem or mental disorder and that, with the confinement, will develop

— Veronica Wilson

The “fear” has plagued the world since the beginning of the state health emergency last march 14. “We all felt something. Me too. You, too, I imagine. No one is immune. Each person will react to this experience in a different way, ” says the doctor. Most individuals manage to “manage” the “stress” due to the upheavals caused by the arrival of the virus. They sleep a peaceful sleep. But, for others, the phrase “It’s going to go well” does not bring any comfort.

“We expect, we, with a wave,” says the deputy director of mental health programs and dependencies CIUSSS of the West Island of Montréal, Véronique Wilson. “Users may have an exacerbation of their symptoms, especially if you’re talking about anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. […] But there is also the population who has not had a mental health problem or mental disorder and that, with the confinement, will develop “, adds the manager, sitting at one of the picnic tables scattered on the lawn of the university Institute in mental health Douglas.

The CIUSSS has identified areas of social vulnerability — which are single-parent families, women victims of violence, or immigrants and the elderly, in which it will need to redouble its efforts to publicize its action plan on mental health. The network will also have to be careful not to leave the teens followed usually in middle school, says Ms. Wilson.

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“If we already went less well, or if it was already compromised, September, it is very far away to have access to a service,” she said.

No one is immune to anxiety, depression or stress disorder post-traumatic stress disorder. “We can talk about post-traumatic stress disorder in some cases. We can talk about behaviors, avoiding, in some cases, ” says Dr. Turecki. “For two months, we were confined in our house, we avoided contacts with people who are not part of our core family. And relearn how to get out of the comfort of the house, to have a number of contacts with people, it’s going to be lived differently by each person. Some people will become more phobic. They are going to fear. It’s going to take time to readjust to venture out of their homes, rehabilitate them to interact with people, even wearing a mask, and by respecting the distance [two meters], etc “

Moreover, individuals responded positively to the prohibitions come together and move, which have been enacted in order to slow down the progression of the COVID-19, on the territory of quebec. “When one is different from the rest of the people, you feel bad. When you are the only one confined because we don’t have any friends, network, you feel bad. When all the people are confined, we feel less bad, ” says the psychiatrist.

The D Gustavo Turecki has seen first-hand the distress caused by the COVID-19 within the population. The chief of psychiatry at CIUSSS of the West-of-the-Island-of-Montreal has rushed to the center for housing and long-term care (CHSLD) Grace Dart after the announcement of the death of the beneficiaries attendant Victoria Salvan. “The people were suffering,” says-t it.

Caregivers are also affected

In addition to paying tribute to their sister fallen in battle against the novel coronavirus, the employees of the establishment have been able to confide on their terms and conditions of employment with one of the psychosocial workers sent by the CIUSSS of the West-of-the-Island-of-Montreal. “The experience in NURSING homes was very difficult for the clinicians “, says Dr. Turecki. “Very, very difficult. It really, really hard. “


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The orderlies, nurses and doctors are won by a feeling of powerlessness, as many of the residents of NURSING homes die from the COVID-19 in spite of the considerable efforts that they deploy to protect them. “They work hard. Nobody is made of steel. Situations terrible [occur. They] are difficult for all people, inclusive to the caregivers and doctors. It is important to have the opportunity to share, discuss, cry, ” he said, inviting the professionals of the health to contact the peer helpers.

The managers of the network are also out of breath, noted the specialist of depression and suicide. “People work non-stop, for two and a half months in a crisis situation. And they do the best they can. “

Are they time bombs ? “We can’t roll like that in the long term,” says Dr. Turecki, before adding : “people need rest, need to disconnect, it is important. “


The Douglas Institute has been creative in order to continue to provide psychiatric care despite the advance of the new coronavirus. He has set up the first unit for psychiatric patients suffering from COVID-19 in Quebec, in addition to developing telemedicine in order that there is theoretically no break in service. It has also transformed the gymnasium of the recreation Center Roberts 24 alcoves to accommodate those reported as positive to the COVID-19, for most schizophrenics who are normally resident in one of the 850 places in intermediate resources and family-type (RI-RTF) of the CIUSSS. By doing this, it reduces the risk of communal transmission of the virus.

In case of an emergency, the residents of the Roberts recreation Centre can count on the assistance of a psychiatrist, Dr. Gustavo Turecki. “I thought I was working very hard. I had no idea what it really was hard work until that [this crisis] begins, ” says the head of psychiatry, which is found almost on a daily basis immersed in a whirlwind of meetings from 7 am to 22 h.

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